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(From Melissa)

It all started when…

I was bored in graduate school and felt disconnected from the tangible world. I wanted to do something that made a contribution to the world and to people's lives, not sit in a room and talk about the literature that I loved so much.

I left with my MA and tried to get a job in the food industry. 

I worked three jobs before begging and pleading my way into Jody Adams' Rialto restaurant in Boston where I learned to work in a kitchen. Jody took us cooks out on farm tours and that, combined with our in house butchery program, sparked my interest in farm to table food and sustainable agriculture.

When I left Boston, I went to live and work on a Bob Cannard's award-winning farm in Petaluma. For six months, I lived in a tent by a wild turkey's favorite river and/or rat-infested shack among the lettuce fields. I was never happier. 

After winning a scholarship from The Culinary Trust, I traveled to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu for three months. I learned some technical stuff I felt I had missed out on by jumping right into my culinary career. I could never have afforded any culinary school without this scholarship.

Upon graduating, I traveled to Panzano, Italy, to work with the world's most beloved butcher, Dario Cecchini. I was lucky enough that Dario hired me to stay for a year or so. I learned to butcher, but I also learned to value quality and community above all else. My visa expired and I stayed illegally until I knew it was time to come home and learn the cuts of meat in English.